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3 stars
A political satire as gamebook

Can you Brexit? is a rare genre mix of political satire and gamebook by the well-known Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson. The duo is known for the Fabled Lands gamebook series and more.

The books puts the reader in the shoes of the Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom first day after the Brexit vote till the bitter very end of the Brexit process. At least basic knowledge of the UK or the EU is required to follow the story even though the books goes into great length to explain the actual problems that need to be handled. Those include the National Health Service (NHS), Exit Fee, Immigration, EU Trade Talks and Residency Rights. As PM you cannot decide everything as you like. You have to consider not only the facts but also have to delegate decision making, respect the party and popular opinion. The books make it very clear that this is the worst job you can have in current Europe.

While the actual Brexit is not yet the complete, the book allows the reader to follow alternative paths and already finish the Brexit in an alternative reality. As an alternative reality all names of political figures have be replace with some what funny names. Everything is in the cards for the reader including political suicide to great disaster for Britain. As long as the real Brexit isn’t over the replay value is high as you can play it again with current political progress in mind. The overall presentation is very dry with no illustrations. The gameplay requires to keep track of certain decisions and results in a lot or check boxes. No deice are required but a seldom coin toss will decide for you. The outcome of the story is base on four stats: Authority within the party, Economy of Britain, Goodwill of the EU and Popularity with the voters. Those can be increased with good decisions and very easily lost with any kind of backlash.

Can you Brexit without breaking Britain? It’s a difficult task and the book gives a very good glimpse into the process and facts behind the decision making. It also make very clear that Theresa May has the worst job any politician. Reading her memoirs and comparing it with this books an few years will be the only reason to replay it after Brexit. This book is for the political interested gamebook fans. For a gamebook beginner the story and presentation can be too dry to enjoy it at first.

4 stars
Einsamer Wolf #1 - Einstieg in die spannende Fantasy-Sage

Mit Flucht aus dem Dunkel (FADD) entsteht 1984 der erste Band der Spielbuch-Reihe Einsamer Wolf (EW) von Joe Dever. Sie ist mit 10 Millionen verkauften Büchern ein der erfolgreichsten Solo-Abenteuer-Serien weltweit. Die hier vorliegende und erweiterte Neuauflage erscheint beim Mantikore-Verlag und unterscheidet sich deutlich von der Urfassung. Um an diesem Solo-Abenteuer Spaß zu haben, braucht man außer dem Buch selbst nur einen Bleistift und Radiergummi.

Der Leser beginnt sein Abenteuer direkt mit dem Angriff der Schwarzen Lords auf die Abtei der Kai. In der Urfassung beginnt das Abenteuer erst nach der Zerstörung der Abtei und lässt den Leser im Unklaren über die grausamen Geschehnisse dort, die so in der Fantasie des Lesers statt fanden. Jetzt dient der Angriff als ein action-reicher Einstieg in die Fantasy-Sage und möglicherweise in das Medium der Spielbücher selbst. Der Ausgang ist vorgegeben, wie man sich in der Schlacht anstellt ist der spannende Teil für den Spieler. Man reitet, kämpft und klettert durch die Abtei und macht sich mit den Mechaniken des Spielsystems vertraut. Dazu gehören Kämpfe, verwalten des Inventars und Kai-Fähigkeiten einsetzen.

Der Weg von der zerstörten Abtei dann hin zum König in Holmgard verlangt richtige Entscheidungen um Erfolg zu haben. Fallen müssen erkannt und Gegner besiegt werden. Die Geschichte ist durchweg spannend, auch wenn klar ist, dass dieser Band nur der Einstieg in ein größeres Abenteuer ist. Die Welt von Magnamund zieht einen schnell in einen Bann, so dass sich der Leser heimisch fühlt auch ohne bekannte genre-typische Motive wie Zwerge oder Orks.

Das Kampfsystem erlaubt schnelle und zum Teil sehr schwere Kämpfe, die schnell verstanden und ausgewürfelt sind. Durch die verschiedenen Fähigkeiten, hat man gelegentliche Vorteil und kann einem sonst verschlossene Pfade und Gefahren erkunden. Zusammen mit der Wahl auf verschiedenen Wegen nach Holmgard zu gelangen, ist der Wiederspielwert hoch. Sollte man dem Zauberer Bandeon nicht begegnet sein, empfehle ich das Abenteuer noch einmal zu spielen. Die Illustrationen von Rich Longmore sind zweckmäßig, wobei einige Momente des Abenteuers toll eingefangen werden. Mit den düsteren und zum Teil unbehaglichen Illustration von Gary Chalk aus der Urfassung können sie dann nicht ganz mithalten. Die Deutsche Übersetzung erlaubt sich den einen oder anderen Patzer, trübt aber das Erlebnis nicht.

Mit Flucht aus dem Dunkel liegt eine gutes Spielbuch vor, dass man jedem Einsteiger aber auch altem Fan empfehlen kann. Leicht zu erlernen, viele Handlungsmöglichkeiten und die Aussicht auf viele weiter Abenteuer.

3 stars
Mixed bag

This is a fork of the popular Maps.me Android app, which removes the nonfree bits and the ads, and is released on F-Droid. To me it looks and works better than OsmAnd, but it currently has a broken log in in OpenStreetMap, which is big problem for me as an editor, and it’s what keeps this from getting a perfect score.

4 stars
De bien bons burgers  fr

Un pub entre les stations de métro Porte Dauphine et Victor Hugo. Propose des plats du jour et des burgers à midi et le soir : le burger végétarien ainsi que celui au pesto sont particulièrement bons.
Petite terrasse sur le trottoir, agréable l’été. Souvent blindé le midi.

5 stars
Lovingly told interactive story about change, death and friendship

Night in the Woods is an adventure game available for virtually all platforms (as of this writing: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch). The game mostly takes place from the perspective of college drop-out Mae Borowski, whose return to her hometown of Possum Springs leads to reunions, conflicts, weird dreams, and a gradually unfolding mystery.

The town is inhabited by anthropomorphic animals (and, oddly, by some actual animals); Mae herself is a 20-year-old cat. The player controls Mae in a manner similar to a jump-and-run game, but with the sense of safety of a point-and-click adventure. While there are areas of the game world that can be a bit tricky to reach, there is very little puzzle-solving.

From time to time, a scene turns into a mini-game (playing the bass guitar, stealing an item from a shop, hitting objects with a baseball bat). You often only get one shot at these games, and whether you succeed or fail will reveal small variations in the story.

While the story is more or less on rails, the game’s characters keep you engaged. There’s Mae’s old friend Gregg, a fox whose short attention span doesn’t seem to get in the way of his employment at the “Snack Falcon”. As time goes on, the depth of his love for his boyfriend, a bear named Angus, is revealed, who seems to be Gregg’s best hope of growing up.

From left to right: Germ, Bea, Angus, Mae, and Gregg at band practice. (Credit: Infinite Fall. Fair use.)

There’s Beatrice “Bea” Santello, a goth who seems initially hostile but who opens up after Mae spends more time with her. And of course there are Mae’s parents, who struggle to get their daughter to tell them what exactly caused her to drop out of college.

When speaking with other characters, you are often given multiple dialog options, but what you can say is constrained by Mae’s perspective on the world as a 20-year-old with … issues. After many experiences, Mae automatically scribbles notes into her personal journal, which are observations like “GREGG RULZ OK” or “THOUGHT: THIS PLACE IS FALLING APART”, often accompanied by cartoons.

As the game progresses, Mae draws little notes in her journal. (Credit: Infinite Fall. Fair use.)

Over time, the mystery at the heart of the story gradually becomes apparent. Mae experiences weird dreams and a growing sense of anxiety, and she witnesses strange goings-on in Possum Springs. The ultimate “reveal” is less important than Mae’s struggle to come to terms with her own fragility. There are discussions of death and religion, but they are meditative, not proselytizing.

Night in the Woods is a gorgeous game: the characters, landscapes and animations are simple but beautiful, enriched by context-specific background music (listen to the soundtrack). The writing is terrific and the pacing is generally good; the early game can feel a bit drawn out.

The main controls are easy to master, though some of the mini-games can feel a bit unfair the first time around. You’ll probably get at least one replay out of the game, to discover hidden branches of the story you missed the first time around, and to master the various mini-games.

On the Nintendo Switch, which is the version we played, the load times can be a bit frustrating: going from one screen to another can trigger a five second “loading” animation, and it’s in the nature of the game’s controls that you might do so accidentally a few times.

The Verdict

I highly recommend giving this game a chance, unless you’re put off by some of the themes of young adult drama and prefer your games to be more challenging. Currently, the game goes for $20 on Steam, which is a decent price for the amount of content that’s packed in here. While the game is not without its minor frustrations, I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up.

53rd Brazilian Esperanto Congress
5 stars
Ĝojplena okazaĵo  eo

Tiu nacia kongreso, kune kun junulara renkontiĝo, estis mia unua E-kunveno post Esperantistiĝo, kaj ĝi ege plaĉis al mi. La kongresejoj estis tre bonaj lokoj: la Memorejo de Kuritibo (kulturcentro en urbocentro) kaj apuda universitato nomata UNINTER. La organizado ŝajnis tre profesia, kaj mi laŭdas la Paranaa Esperanto-Asocio pro tio. Ankaŭ estis aliaj eventoj kiel kurado, ekskursoj, KER-ekzameno kaj interesaj kulturaj prezentaĵoj. Eta problemo estis, ke oni ne vere povis aŭdi la mikrofonsonon ĉe la Memorejo, do ni apenaŭ povus kompreni, ekzemple, pri Paulo Silas, Esperantista poeto omaĝita dum la evento.

Estis etaj loĝistikaj problemoj rilate al tempo de aktivitatoj, kaj mi ege malĝojis, ke oni informis pri la neokazo de kelkaj prelegoj tre malfrue, aŭ foje eĉ ne informis. Tiaj aferoj ja okazeblas, sed estus pli bone scii antaŭe. Alia plendeto estas, ke ĝi estis tro mallonga! Kongresoj daŭru minimume semajno, bonvole :)

Sed ĝenerale estis bonega etoso, almenaŭ inter la junuloj, kie mi ĉefe partoprenis, kaj la amikecojn oni ekkreas en tiuj lokoj multe pelas onin plue partopreni aliajn kongresojn kaj aktiviĝi por Esperanto. Do mi dankas BEL kaj BEJO por tiu oportuno!

Malgarantio: mi ricevis monan subtenon por partopreni la kongreson, kaj laboris kiel volontulo. Ankaŭ, la organizantoj petis ke mi verku raporton pri ĝi poste, do eblas, ke mia opinio iel favoremas ĝin, tamen mi kredas, ke la plejmulto da partoprenantoj havas similajn pozitivajn opiniojn pri ĝi.

3 stars
Autêntico, mas caro demais  pt

Esse izakaya (espécie de boteco japonês) na Augusto Stellfeld é um espaço pequeno e aconchegante, com uma atmosfera muito autenticamente japonesa. O grande problema é o preço, que é bizarro; um simples espetinho de shiitake com quatro cogumelos já dá dez reais. Pedindo duas cervejas, dois espetinhos e um pires de raiz forte já passa dos oitenta reais. O atendimento também podia ser um pouco mais amigável.

Vale a pena conhecer, mas é inacessível pra maior parte das pessoas.

5 stars
Paraíso vegano  pt

Esse restaurante é sensacional. O atendimento é bom, o espaço é bacana (um bonito casarão histórico em uma esquina do Largo da Ordem) mas o forte mesmo é a comida. Provei a esfirra, a coxinha e o enroladinho de salsicha, sendo esse último meu preferido. Eles também oferecem chocolates e sorvetes, tudo vegano. É incrível.

Como se não bastasse, o lugar é super barato. É o melhor de todos os mundos. A única coisa que pode melhorar é o buffet de almoço. Quando eu fui, era só arroz, feijão, duas opções de strogonoff vegano e batata palha. Faltou bastante opção. Mas como lanchonete, funciona super bem.

5 stars
Some really good fluffy YA

I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but well, that’s what happened: I liked it a lot. It’s not the best book I have ever read, but I enjoyed the story and the characters thoroughly.

It’s not just a story about the people who have to watch and wait and wonder while the heros go save the world. It’s not just a story about mentally ill teenagers being there for each other in a scarily supernatural world. It’s both, and that combination works out great. I cared deeply for all the main characters.

I really like how the distinction of indie kids versus everyone else doesn’t quite hold up, too.

4 stars
While "The Outsider" doesn't break any new ground, it's classic King

The crime at the center of Stephen King’s, The Outsider is gruesome even by the horror writer’s standards: the sadistic murder of a child. The suspect is Terry Maitland, a baseball coach in the fictional town of Flint City. Early on, it looks like the cops have this one in the bag: multiple witnesses and DNA evidence appear to tie Maitland to the crime. But then a single question threatens detective Ralph Anderson’s grip on reality: can a murderer be in two places at the same time?

The hardcover edition of The Outsider has 576 pages, but I found myself breezing through the book in a single weekend, thanks to King’s masterful pacing of the story. While the book ultimately follows a fairly genre-typical path, the entry of a beloved character from King’s recent Bill Hodges trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch) keeps things interesting until the end. 4 out of 5 stars.

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